Tea of the Week for October 30, 2017/Retro Monday/Featured Reblend for October: Pumpkin Chai (Black Tea)!
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Happy Retro Monday, everyone! Also - a VERY Happy Birthday to my grandson, Kayden! I love you!
Tea Description: I wasn't planning on doing this tea as this month's reblend - but as it turned out, the tea I had originally planned on blending required a certain tea for the base and I didn't have any in stock. About the same time that I realized that I'd need to change my plan for this month, I happened to see a message on Instagram that mentioned 'hope' for a pumpkin chai blend with a black tea base from us. (Yes, I really do read things that are posted about us/for us - so long as we're tagged so I know about it!)
Anyway, this blend was originally crafted during Frank's era and I enjoyed it. (You can read my review of it here.) It had a nice amount of spice and I could taste the pumpkin. However, I did decide to go a bit astray on my own route with this one. I'm well aware that the teas I've selected to use for this blend are different than the ones that Frank used for his. AND when it comes to chai, I'm a big fan of spice!
I went heavy on the Assam with this because Chai blends seem to benefit from the strength, depth and malty tones of the Assam. To the Assam, I added some Ceylon for smoothness and some Keemun because I thought that the natural smoky tones from the Keemun would add an interesting dimension of flavor to this chai. Then I added chunks of dried pumpkin and vanilla bean and my chai spices: cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, black pepper, allspice and nutmeg.
This is definitely a chai before it is a pumpkin tea - and as I insinuated above, I don't have a problem with that. I like my chai to have some spice to it! But while the spices are strong, I can still taste the pumpkin and the creamy backdrop from the vanilla bean.
While this is fantastic served straight-up, I recommend drinking this hot with a teensy bit of sugar (sugar with the spice makes a chai taste real nice!) or honey to bring out the chai spices. And if you really want a wowza moment, try it as a latte! So YUM!
organic ingredients: black teas, pumpkin, chai spices, vanilla bean & natural flavors
As I mentioned in the above description, I really wasn't planning on reblending this tea to be this month's reblend but I'm glad that I saw that request for a pumpkin chai on social media because this is so good. Chai blends are an absolute favorite of mine this time of year. As soon as the weather starts to get cooler, I'm all about a warmly spiced chai! Interestingly enough though, I really hadn't planned on a lot of chai blends for this year - I think it may have a little to do with the fact that when I started plotting out these next few month's 'tea of the week' plans, we were experiencing one of the hottest summers we have had ... well, ever.
Fortunately, when I saw the request for a Pumpkin Chai, I knew that I had the base ingredients that I needed and the other ingredients I'd need for this blend were something I could easily and quickly obtain. And as I said above - this blend is so good that I'm happy to be reblending it - even if I did take a lot of liberties (ahem ... LiberTEAS) with the recipe.
The flavor is rich and spicy. There's a nice pumpkin note that plays well with the spices. The vanilla isn't meant to be a strong profile - otherwise it'd soften the spices too much! - but instead, it's meant to offer some creaminess to complement the pumpkin.
I'd take this cuppa over a Pumpkin Spice Latte anyday!
to brew: Be sure to give the blend a good shake before you measure - you want to get all those ingredients incorporated! I recommend using a heaping teaspoon (or even two level teaspoons) of leaf to 12 ounces of near boiling water (205°F). Let steep for 2 1/2 minutes. Strain and let cool for about 10 minutes.